Table for Six
飯戲攻心 (Faahn hei gung sam)
Hong Kong, 2022, 116’, Cantonese
Directed by: Sunny Chan
Screenplay: Sunny Chan
Photography (color): Meteor Cheung
Editing: Cheung Ka-fai, Cheng Wai-lun
Art Direction: Leung Tsz-yin
Music: Alan Wong, Janet Yung
Producers: Bill Kong, Ivy Ho, Tang Wai-but
Cast: Dayo Wong (Steve Chan), Stephy Tang (Monica), Louis Cheung (Bernard), Ivana Wong (Josephine), Peter Chan (Lung), Lin Min-chen (Meow), Fish Liew (mother)
Date of First Release in Territory: TBA
After scoring a hit with his 2018 rowing-themed comedy-drama Men on the Dragon, writer-director Sunny Chan heads indoors for an entertaining tale of home and family in Table for Six. The film opens with Steve Chan (Dayo Wong) and his brothers Bernard (Louis Cheung) and Lung (Peter Chan) living in their dad’s old barbeque pork factory, and household tensions are about to appear as the lunar new year approaches.
Steve is a photographer who doesn’t like to leave the building and handles his work at home. One day, popular Taiwan influencer Meow (Lin Min-chen) turns up and, during a photo shoot, lets on that she’s been his fan for ages. E-sports player Lung is meanwhile in a wobbly relationship with Josephine (Ivana Wong), a super-talented chef who’s eager to move into the spacious pad. And Bernard is secretly seeing Monica (Stephy Tang), the volatile ex-girlfriend Steve can’t let go of.
Family dinners are a long-running family tradition, and these become mighty awkward with all six in the picture. One meal sees Bernard drop the surprise that he and Monica are an item, leading to Monica moving in; in another Steve suddenly makes out that Meow is his partner (and she’s cool with that). With the household growing and unresolved matters bubbling up from family history, Steve’s past efforts to keep the brothers together under one roof could reach breaking point.
Table for Six was scheduled for release this February as a Chinese New Year comedy, but that plan was scuppered when the government shut cinemas for months on end. Sunny Chan’s film aligns with traditions of festive-season comedy with its focus on family and bringing people together, and it clicks too with Hong Kong filmgoers’ rising preference for highly local fare. Chan’s long experience as a comedy scriptwriter shows in a lively tale captured with great timing and plenty of heart, and he smoothly slips in hometown cultural references and lashings of wordplay (the latter requiring linguistic gymnastics in the subtitling). Monica’s zeal to protect Hong Kong heritage has her collecting old signs, restaurant decorations and more, and once she moves in that makes for delightful set design with local markers stuck all over the home. The city’s amped-up cinema portrayals of brotherhood are spoofed with an over-the-top bathroom scene. And culinary culture comes in as well, whether in recollections of the father’s decidedly low-end barbecue pork or Josephine’s playful takes on popular cuisine when she tries to up her game in the kitchen. Even without throwing in common city sights – almost all the film is set at a single industrial building – Chan manages to build an appreciable sense of place.
Popular comedian Dayo Wong, who previously hit big in the Chinese New Year with the films Agent Mr Chan (2018) and The Grand Grandmaster (2020), heads a great ensemble cast, his complex character holding back a certain sadness while trying to keep the home together. Louis Cheung and Peter Chan take on amiable and laid-back roles as brothers, Stephy Tang and Ivana Wong show terrific comic flair, and Malaysian actress Lin Min-chen gets her most substantial Hong Kong part yet as a mysterious newcomer. Moviegoers may have been unable to enjoy the performances at the start of the Year of the Tiger as intended, but they’re in for something special whenever the film reaches cinemas. With its warm take on family and valuing those close to you, Table for Six can resonate throughout the year.
Writer and director Sunny Chan graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2000. He was hired by filmmaker Joe Ma and wrote for popular comedies including the Love Undercover trilogy (2002-06), The Lion Roars (2002) and Hidden Heroes (2004). Other writing credits include Sound of Colors (2003) and Monster Hunt 2 (2018). He made his directorial debut with the sports comedy-drama Men on the Dragon (2018), which went on to earn 11 Hong Kong Film Awards nominations including those for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.
2018 – Men on the Dragon
2022 – Table for Six